The BFI’s Screwball! season has been running throughout January, and continues to the end of the month. Our writers have picked some gems from the genre for your enjoyment.
The Awful Truth (1937)
by Phil Concannon
When Leo McCarey won the Best Director Oscar in 1938 he argued that he had been awarded it for the wrong film, having also made Make Way for Tomorrow in the previous 12 months. While it’s true that his heartbreaking family drama deserved more acclaim (it remained largely overlooked up until a few years ago), that statement shouldn’t be taken as a slight against film McCarey did win for, The Awful Truth, which still stands as one of the great American comedies. Not many of those involved thought that would be the case as it was being made – Cary Grant frequently took issue with McCarey’s reliance on improvisation and even tried to leave the production – but the finished product works like a charm.